Lessons Learned

Rather than focusing on the race I’m not running, I’ve decided to put my attention on all of the training I have done, and try to learn from it for next time.  In the past three months I have run over 450 miles, which is a much higher volume than I’ve ever sustained before.  I’m proud of all the work that I did, but there are definitely changes I will make next time.  A lot of my problems started because I ramped up both my mileage and the intensity too quickly.  I would have preferred to spend a few more weeks in the 30-40 mile range early on, and the last weeks before the taper above 50, rather than hanging out around 45 miles for two months solid.  I also will probably look for plans that cycle 3:1 hard and easy weeks, rather than the 4:1 that I attempted.  Another thing I will probably keep in mind next time is that recovery days (and weeks) are actually part of the schedule, not just opportunities to sneak in a few more miles.  I will get massaged early and often. 

Probably the biggest thing I would change next time is to not let the marathon become bigger and more important than it is.  I will try to focus on the training for its own sake more than the race as an end goal.  I actually enjoy training more than racing anyway, so it seems like that shouldn’t be an issue for me, but somehow it’s still easy to get carried away with the excitement and importance of one day.  I think a lot of that stress comes from the fact that training at that level really does start to creep into every aspect of your life.  You’re literally eating, sleeping, and breathing the marathon for months on end.  For myself at least, I think I need approach it within the larger context of the season, and not as a huge build-up to four hours of running.

The idea of approaching a season as a whole is also new to me.  Living in Southern California doesn’t do much to reinforce any sort of cyclical time, for one thing.  I tend to keep my running volume pretty constant all year long, with peaks when a race strikes my fancy.  I think I would benefit from taking a longer-term view of things, both in terms of goals and strategies.  More to come on this….

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